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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Thruway Authority to cut 234 positions

Thruway Authority to cut 234 positions

The state Thruway Authority has begun the process of eliminating 234 positions.

The state Thruway Authority has begun the process of eliminating 234 positions.

The cuts, which will go into effect April 3, include 192 positions in the Thruway system and 42 in the Canal Corporation, a division of the authority. Letters are being sent out today to the employees whose positions have been eliminated, said authority spokesman Dan Weiller.

“The [Thruway Authority] board of directors and Executive Director Tom Madison recognize the impact of this on employees and on the authority overall and we do not take this lightly,” he said, noting that the cuts stem from ongoing fiscal challenges.

The cuts are expected to save the authority $20 million.

Jobs across the state and in 60 different civil service titles are included in the cuts. Employees whose jobs have been eliminated may have seniority to bump less-senior people out of their positions, so it’s not clear yet who will be affected by the planned cuts. Because of the bumping rights the authority began the process now.

Weiller said despite the scheduled job cuts, the authority will continue to try to maintain its current level of safety and reliability on the Thruway and canal system.

None of the planned cuts involves nonunion employees, who have had a salary freeze since 2009 or earlier for some employees. Those salary freezes saved the authority more than $6 million since being implemented.

The authority generated controversy last year when it considered a 45 percent toll hike for three-axle commercial vehicles to offset rising expenses. A toll increase was avoided by shifting the $60 million cost of policing the Thruway to the state.

The proposed toll hike prompted harsh criticism, mainly from Republican state legislators, who proposed changing the operations of the authority. Those plans ranged from merging the authority with the state Department of Transportation to putting the power of toll hikes into the hands of the Legislature.

Nearly 3,000 full-time workers are currently employed by the authority. Since 2011, the authority has eliminated 361 jobs, mostly through attrition. Dating to 1995, around 900 positions have been eliminated within the authority.

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